Scene: Press conference at the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs
Sport Minister Anil Roberts: “Good day gentlemen. The Sport Ministry is pleased to announce a new tactical plan that will guarantee the Trinidad and Tobago national football team success in the future. I, as a top level coach, and remember it was me who turned George Bovell into the greatest swimmer Trinidad and Tobago has ever seen. And I have done it again. With this new formation, the “Soca Warriors” will be guaranteed a place at the next Gold Cup and the 2018 World Cup.”
Journalist: “Excuse me Minister. Isn’t it the job of the football coach to decide on a system of play?”
Roberts: “Rubbish. I’m paying the coach and I am ultimately responsible for ensuring good value for money. This kinda vikey vie way of doing things under the previous administration is finished. Never before has Trinidad and Tobago had a Sport Minister who was such a top swimming coach too.”
Permanent Secretary Ashwin Creed nods solemnly.
Roberts: “Now the idea is simple but effective. It started after witnessing the brilliant operation of the Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet since the last reshuffle by our wise and most beautiful Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. From now on, our national team will field 16 players instead of 11. They will still wear jerseys numbered from one to eleven but some players will wear duplicate numbers and play in the same positions.”
Journalist: “Excuse me, Minister.”
Roberts (ignoring the raised hand): “You all will have noticed that, for instance, there is now a Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration, Clifton De Couteau, and there is also a Minister in the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration, Embau Moheni. Right? Well, on the football pitch, not only will we have a Goalkeeper but we’ll also have a Goalkeeper in the Goalposts of the Goalkeeper.
“It is believed that two goalkeepers will improve our chances of keeping clean sheets. It is the most brilliant thing I have done since I told Bovell to try and swim faster than the guy in the lane next to him. That completely turned his career around.”
Journalist (standing): “Excuse Minister.”
Roberts (talking louder): “I hope allyuh writing this down yuh know. The National Team will have a Defensive Midfielder and a Midfielder in the Defence of the Midfield, an Attacking Midfielder and an Attacking Midfielder in the Midfield of the Attack, a Centre Forward and a Forward in the Centre of the Forwards. We’ll have a traditional Left Full Back but we’ll also have a Full Back on the Left of the Backs. The formation will line up so:
1 Goalkeeper in the Goalposts of the Goalkeeper
2 Right Back 5 Centre Back 6 Centre Back 3 Left Back 3 Full Back on the Left of the Backs
4 Defensive Midfielder
4 Midfielder in the Defence of the Midfield
7 Right Midfield 11 Left Midfield
8 Attacking Midfielder
8 Attacking Midfielder in the Midfield of the Attack
9 Centre Forward 9 Forward in the Centre of the Forwards
Journalist (standing in front of the Minister’s desk and blocking the view of the television cameras): “Minister?!”
Roberts: “Listen boy! What are you doing here?! You think I don’t know you come here to give trouble? You are the fellah from that 688-site. That sounds like a damn colour by numbers book! Why you don’t just do like everybody else and write down what I say and post it for all of your five readers to get smart?!”
Journalist: “Minister, football only allows 11 players on the field per team at any given time. This is exactly why FIFA rules warn against government interference. Do you think you are overstepping your boundaries and improperly using taxpayers’ money to interfere with the autonomy of a properly constituted sporting body?”
Roberts: “You know how long ‘No Boundaries’ off the air? Eh?! Where you does get your facts from?! You know that Span played with no centre forwards in the Euros? Eh? How come FIFA didn’t ban them? Cheups!”
Creed smirks, swivels his chair and nods vigorously.
Journalist: “But Spain still had only 11 players on the field…”
Roberts: “So what number Xabi Alonso does wear for Spain, eh? Is number 14 he wore. And is not FIFA self who introduced two additional referees’ assistants? You feel Kamla put us here to just say the first thing that pops into our heads without thinking it through first? You feel I didn’t benefit from the esteemed wisdom of my PS before I called you all here?”
Creed high-fives a reporter and goes back to nodding silently.
Roberts: “Can I finish please for these wonderful members of the media who know sense from nonsense? Thank you… As I was saying, obviously we will need to put in some extra work initially on the training field. But with the introduction of our new Coach in the Head Position of Coaching to assist our Head Coach, we don’t foresee a problem. We will just explain each player’s roles more clearly.
“For example, the Centre Forward will be responsible for all headers while the Forward in the Centre of the Forwards will just use his feet. The Left Back will be in charge of marking the other team’s winger while the Full Back on the Left of the Backs is responsible with arguing for offside calls and long throws. We have arranged to use the Pro League as a testing ground for this.”
Several reporters break into a round of applause and Mexican wave choreographed by Creed.
Journalist: “Would that not affect the integrity of the Pro League? Did Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene agree to this?”
Roberts: “Skeene is a bit old school in his thinking and he didn’t have the benefit of my Fatima education and thick Douglah lips for talking sense. So, until he comes around, the Sport Ministry will liaise directly with one of his employees, Randy Bando, who will conduct all the Pro League’s business on his behalf…
“Cheups. You know the boy has his hand up again?! Gentlemen, have a nice day.”
Editor’s Note: This column is pure satire and all conversations are faked; no offence is meant at parties named; although they probably deserve it